What to Expect in the Wake of the Global Selloff

Starting Monday, the president pushed back strongly against the nuclear ambitions of North Korea, resulting in the escalation of the conflict and increased market volatility. The VIX volatility index jumped up in response.

However, looking at the 10-year chart of the VIX, the equity market still has very low volatility and does not signal a serious geopolitical risk:

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Not surprisingly, the South Korean market responded negatively to the events, but in our view, the selloff did not break the long-term uptrend yet:

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The next question is, how much damage do we see in the US equity markets? While the selloff took market observers by surprise and many negative reports appeared in the financial media, we think that the long-term uptrend of the S&P 500 index is still intact, but it is at a tipping point:

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Furthermore, we also think that the long-term uptrend for the stock markets of the Southeast Asia region is still up, for now:

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How did the flight to safety investments perform during the selloff? First, let’s look at gold. Gold stocks rallied, but modestly. Our interpretation is that gold investors do not see a dramatic escalation of the Korean conflict yet:
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Also, Treasury yields are trending lower, which shows that the demand for US bonds, another traditional flight to safety play,  did not spike in response to South Korean threats:

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How does the chain of events impact the sectors of the market? We think that we are seeing a significant change of market leadership that was triggered by, but not caused by the Korean crisis. We also see an apparent shift in sentiment that can reinforce sector rotation.

First of all, as expected, defense and utilities, which are traditionally conservative investments, are still doing well:

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On the other hand, the price of crude oil is not improving, which leads to weakness in the energy sector:

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The selloff in technology, one of the market leaders in 2017, is modest:

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What to do next? In our opinion, the key is to follow the market-leading sectors and international investments in Europe and Asia. If they cannot recover from the selloff, we think that the whole market is in trouble, but if investors will start to buy the dip again, which worked so well for seven years, we would probably want to take a new look at the strongest sectors.

 

The sector screen used for this market analysis was provided by www.FidelitySectorReport.com.

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Sector Rotation: Technology and Transportation Stocks Reverse; Flight to Safety Lifts Utilities and Consumer Sectors; New Market Leaders Emerge

The congruence of multiple market forces is causing sudden shifts in the stock market:

  • A dramatic sell-off of large cap technology stocks triggered a flight to safety with potential benefits to defensive sectors, such as utilities and consumer staples.
  • The decline of the dollar versus all major currencies causes rallies in both cyclicals and commodity stocks. The energy sector shows signs of bottoming and bullish turn-around.
  • Higher energy prices are hurting airlines and transportation stocks, in general.
  • International markets continue to be attractive choices for diversification.
  • The strongest sectors continue to advance.

Sector screen is provided by Fidelity Sector Report

Today, large cap tech stocks experienced a classical bearish reversal day: the technology-focused Nasdaq 100 index first made a new record high, but by early afternoon sold off on high volume:

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On the other hand, defensive sectors, such as consumer staples and utilities, are attracting attention from investors:

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The dollar continued to decline against all major currencies:

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Since commodities are priced in dollar-terms worldwide, the weakening dollar has contributed to the recent rally in commodities stocks:

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Another beneficiary of the weak dollar is the cyclicals sector, also known as the consumer discretionary sector. Many of the companies in this sector are large multinational companies with overseas earnings that become more valuable when the dollar declines.

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Increasing energy prices are helping energy stocks, but hurting the transportation sector.

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International investments in Asia and Europe continue to do very well in the current market environment:

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The strongest domestic sectors right now are the media, defense, and materials sectors:

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Can International Markets Outperform the U.S. Stock Market in 2017?

A sharp sell-off in the Brazilian stock market spooked investors two days ago. The sell-off came after bribery allegations surfaced against the president of Brazil:

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The plunge in Brazilian shares did not spread to international markets in Europe and Asia, which highlights the importance of diversification.

The chart of the Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX) shows that international markets are outperforming the S&P 500 index since March, as shown by the FDIVX:$SPX ratio line pointing up (see blue arrow in the bottom panel):

fdivx.052017.png

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Global Equity Markets Rally; The Market is Climbing the Wall of Worry

Summary

  • A huge global equity rally is under way following the first round of the French election.
  • U.S. stocks also rallied. The NASDAQ index surpassed the psychologically important 6000 level for the first time.
  • New sector breakouts can provide “catch up” trade opportunities.
  • Geopolitical and domestic conflicts can derail the global rally, but so far the markets are climbing the “wall of worry”.

 

In our previous blog post, we made a bullish case for the equity market. The global rally did indeed start yesterday after the results of the first round of the French presidential elections were announced, as traders placed bets on a market-friendly outcome of the final election in early May.

The French stock market rallied strongly in response to the election results on Monday and today. What’s even more interesting is that the volume of the iShares MSCI France ETF (EWQ) spiked on Friday before the results were announced:

ewq-042517.png

 

The rally spread to almost all international markets, including emerging markets:

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U.S. stocks rallied, as well, with the S&P 500 index breaking above the downtrend line decisively:

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The Nasdaq index, which is primarily driven by growth companies in the technology sector, broke above the psychologically important 6000 level today.

Why is this level important? Many investors remember breaking the 5000 level at the peak of the dot-com bubble in 2000. Valuations are much more reasonable today, but it is amazing that it took 17 years for the Nasdaq index to make the next milestone, after moving above the 5000 level last summer:

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The technology sector continues to lead the market, but the rally is broad based. A new development is that Health Care sub-sectors are moving higher in the momentum ranking:

Momentum_Screen_042517jpg.jpg

 

The materials sector is also strengthening. The new breakout for the Fidelity Select Chemicals Fund (FSCHX) represents a “catch up” opportunity to participate in the rally:

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The Fidelity Select Health Care Fund (FSPHX) has also made a new high:

fshcx-042517.png

 

Books describing the history of the stock market are filled with examples of the markets climbing the “wall of worry”. This expression refers to situations when equities advance, in face of known and real dangers that can derail the advance.

It seems that the current market environment is not unlike of the historic examples. Heightened geopolitical tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East, ongoing budget ceiling negotiations in Washington, trade disputes with Canada, and unexpected earnings surprises can negatively impact market sentiment within a short time.

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5 Top Fidelity Mutual Funds to Watch in 2015

Summary

  • A technical screen of Fidelity mutual funds shows that new investment areas emerged in 2015 to lead the market
  • The natural resources sector, which includes energy, has the potential to provide market-beating returns. On the other hand, investors shouldn’t expect low volatility, because commodity prices can fluctuate in a wide range
  • International markets, most notably Asia and Europe, may outperform U.S. equities this year

From time-to-time, it is important to take a broad view of the market, so we can better understand the changing conditions and dynamics. Five month ago, back in November 2014, our momentum screen showed that the top 10 Fidelity mutual funds were all equity funds representing the consumer, health care and transportation sectors of the U.S. economy (see article).

While equity funds continue to outperform bond funds, the picture is very different now. Mutual funds investing in energy and other natural resources, and international markets are the market leaders. At the same time, select U.S. sectors, such as utilities, are lagging:

FidelitySignal_-_Daily_Market_Research

Speculation about bottoming oil and commodity prices have caused an impressive rally in the natural resources sector. A great way to participate in the potentially long-term bullish trend in this sector is via the Fidelity Select Natural Resources Fund (FNARX).

fnarx

The Fidelity China Region fund (FHKCX) is now the best year-to-date performer of all Fidelity mutual funds with a 20.97% gain.

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Visit FidelitySignal.com for additional investment strategies.

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How can an Aggressive Growth Strategy Beat the Market in 2015 (continued)

Summary

  • We continue to track the performance of the FidelitySignal Aggressive Growth strategy (see details in previous article) in a difficult investment environment
  • Increased market volatility resulted in a sell signal for the materials sector fund, while the other components of the strategy continue to advance
  • As the next earnings season approaches, the economic effect of the strengthening dollar may cause additional volatility

The FidelitySignal Aggressive Growth strategy continues to outperform the market in 2015. The current asset allocation is as follows:

FidelitySignal -asset allocationFidelitySignal - performance chart

Increased volatility in the materials sector resulted in a sell signal for the Fidelity Select Materials Fund (FSDPX) and the fund was removed from the portfolio:

fsdpx

The other portfolio components, such as the Fidelity Southeast Asia Fund (FSEAX), the Fidelity Construction and Housing Fund (FSHOX), the Fidelity Select Medical Delivery Fund (FSMEX) and the Fidelity Select Consumer Staples Fund (FSDAX) have contributed to the strong performance of the strategy in 2015:

 fseax

fshox

 fsmex

 fdfax

Visit FidelitySignal.com for additional investment strategies.

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Global Equity Markets in Turmoil Due to Fears About Rising U.S. Interest Rates; Best and Worst Investments in a Highly Volatile Market

Long-term U.S. Treasury yields have been rising in the last four weeks, as traders anticipate the Fed to raise rates possibly as early as June. In addition, the dollar has continued to make impressive gains against all major currencies, as quantitative easing in Europe and Japan is under way.

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The potential for rising interest rates in the U.S. and the steep rise of the dollar has led to a sell off of equities, bonds and commodities around the globe.

The S&P 500 index has retreated from its recent high and now in negative territory for the year. In spite of rising volatility, the chart of the benchmark Fidelity Spartan U.S. Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) shows that the long-term trend for U.S. equities is still bullish:

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Another important development is that commodities and oil continue to deflate, reversing the short-lived rally in January:

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In light of the rising dollar, the bear market in commodities and weak economic conditions in international markets, it is not surprising to see the Fidelity Select Energy Services Fund (FSESX), the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) and the Fidelity Latin America Fund (FLATX) amongst the weakest performers year-to-date:

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The few sweet spots in the current market are sectors that are not sensitive to interest rates and rely on innovation to create growth. Perhaps the most notable is the health care sector, including biotechnology stocks:

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The dynamic interplay of equities, bonds, currencies and commodities is shifting market conditions again. We continue to favor a conservative, risk averse investment approach in 2015.

Read more about investment strategies at FidelitySignal.com

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